Earlier this week I mentioned the great new NBA stat site NBAstuffer.com, and site owner Serhat Ugur has done some analysis of the Mavericks performance before and after the Jason Kidd trade. There are some interesting things here, and I think Serhat's conclusion after examining them is probably in line with most people's observations. Note that the analysis does not include the recent Clippers victory.
The first thing Serhat looked at was how the offense and defense have been affected by the change in personnel. First of all, as many have noticed, the Mavs are playing at a faster pace, with an increase of 2.41 possessions per game since Kidd has arrived. This is a significant amount and moves the Mavs from one of the slowest teams in the league to near the top ten fastest.
On offense, the Mavericks have been hurt by the addition of Kidd. We score roughly a point less (0.9) for every 100 possessions than we did before the trade. The reasons behind this decrease are interesting, because one of the key offensive statistics is better with Kidd: The Mavs effective field goal percentage (a % which accounts for three pointers), which is .96 higher. Unfortunately that is offset by a whole slew of decreases in performance. The Mavs offensive rebounding percentage is lower (-0.4); they are getting to the free throw line less (FTM/FGA ratio is down 6.9), and, one of the biggest reasons for the decline: a startling increase in turnovers. The Mavericks now commit 1.34 more turnovers per 100 possessions than they did before Kidd arrived.
Interestingly, the assists per FGM ratio has increased dramatically (+3.03), illustrating that Kidd's been having an effect (better shooting, more assisted shots), but it hasn't been enough to stop our offense from slipping with him at the helm.
One of the real bizarre developments in looking at Kidd's impact and Harris' departure is that the "better floor general" Jason Kidd has hurt the offense, while the departure of the "best defensive point guard in the league" Devin Harris has helped our defense. In fact, the impact on the Mavs defense has been the single biggest change since the trade: The Mavs are giving up 1.7 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did before the trade. That's a very significant drop, and is nearly double the hit we took on the offensive side.
In terms of specifics, the Mavs have improved in practically every defensive category but turnovers: The opposition shoots worse, the Mavs allow fewer offensive rebounds, and are fouling less. The loss of Harris' taking charges certainly has had an impact on opponent turnovers, as the opposition commit over 2 fewer turnovers than they did before the trade, which as I mentioned is the key area where the Mavs defense has done worse.
In very basic terms, we could reasonably conclude that Kidd's been a net positive for the Mavs so far: His impact on improving our defense has been greater than his impact on hurting our offense. Additionally, it is distinctly possible that as his comfort level with the team increases, the number of turnovers will drop, which will significantly improve the Mavs' offense. Even without any more improvement in the offense, there can be no denying one thing: The Mavs are a much better defensive team with Kidd on the floor than with Harris.
I asked Serhat for his one word assessment of the Kidd trade. His answer was that he was "neutral" on the trade. His key point was that the combination of a faster pace and increased turnovers have hurt the team the most. But, he added, "Let's look at the numbers before the postseason. I'm sure we'll get better indicators."